Bunyoro farmers urged to embrace oil seeds project

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Bunyoro farmers urged to embrace oil seeds project
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While officiating at the multi stakeholder platform meeting organised by the National Oil Seed Project in Hoima, Bright Rwamirama, the state minister for agriculture challenged leaders and farmers in Bunyoro to embrace the production of oil seeds like Sun flower, sim sim and  ground nuts, among others to help the country reduce on money it loses in  importation of vegetable oils.

"Every year Uganda is losing USD 300 million  in importation of vegetable oils, this is a lot of money. However, once we boost oil seeds production, this will mean production of vegetable oils will be done here, and the surplus can be exported to boost revenues, but also increases nutrition among citizens," Rwamirama said.

He noted that  Uganda has a number of factories, all of them at producing at a low capacity because of lack of raw materials.

"We are fairly improving production especially with the emergence of Kalangala but we are still badly off. So, when  people here increase oil seeds production, no doubt the market is available. It is a matter of changing peoples mindset to embrace oil seeds production. Currently Uganda's reliance on imported vegetable oil accounts for up to 60% of the market supply while the national production stands at 80,000 metric tons."

Chris Gumisiriza, the national oil seeds project manager, noted that  the project also seeks to improve a total of 2500km of access roads in the mid western region with Nakaseke and Sembabule inclusive.

"We know most farmers get challenges with roads which  makes it hard to transport produce. So, we are also targeting  working on the roads as  each district will have 30km worked on and this will enable accessibility," Gumisiriza said.

Alex Kumakech , the Hoima chief administrative officer, expressed joy over the project.

"Since primary, they used to tell us that agriculture is the backbone of Uganda's economy but little is given to the sector yet it employs most people. We ask that in case of such programs, government injects in alot of money to benefit a big number of people."

The National Oil Seed Project targets to accelerate commercialization in key oil seed value chains and there by improve the livelihoods and resilience of small holders engaged in oil seed product.

The seven year oil seeds project will cost shs600 billions and this will see over 120,000 small holder farmers in the six hubs benefit with 60% of  these being women and 40% youths.


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